This COETAIL course has been my own personal vortex. After reading about a hundred COETAIL blog posts, following countless new tech or education blogs, watching dozens of videos, and scanning through a host of suggested texts–my head is swimming with ideas. These ideas, mashed up with the workload I’m currently under, have spun me in to a vortex of desperation. I’m desperate to try so many things! I am desperate to start my year over again so I can use many of the innovative tools I’ve seen shared by my PLN. I’m just desperate!

To escape from my own personal vortex, I need to see the light. My realization: I can’t do it all! With only 8 weeks left in this school year–it’s time to consolidate my COETAIL learning and use only a few of the amazing ideas I’ve seen. I’ll have to keep the rest on my “To Do” list for next year.

…And that realization is where my final project’s UbD evolved from.

My students recently began a Writing unit centered on sharing one’s opinion through reviews. Before teaching the unit, the easiest technology integration my team and I thought to implement was sharing a review online. But after a week of learning with the brilliant writing coach, Matt Glover (and Reader’s Workshop guru Maggie Moon), I tweeted the following comment:

tweetSo… I did just that. I let the creative juices flow and figured out how to merge great literacy knowledge with my COETAIL learning.

After finishing the book Frindle, my students and I collaborated on a review for Amazon. We drafted, edited, uploaded, and got our review approved by Amazon within 1 hour. How lovely–all basic technology integration done–Now it was time to go deeper!


this is a screenshot of the review referred to above

I rewrote our team’s UbD to include a broader focus on international collaboration. Using Google Docs, I will have my students co-write a review (about a favorite book, movie, toy, game, restaurant, etc.) with their pen pal partners in America. These reviews can be shared on a number of internet sites for a far bigger audience than originally anticipated. (scroll through the UbD below to see the draft unit)

So COETAIL Course 1 is behind me: learning outcomes met, blog posts written, feedback given, and unit updated. It appears as if my own personal vortex is settling a bit. Now, to have a drink, pack my suitcase, and get the heck out of Johannesburg–I’m beach bound.